It would surprise no one who knows me in my personal life that my birthday is, for me, a big deal. While others would like the anniversary of their birth to pass with nary a reminder, I prefer to be reminded that this is a day of Cami celebration over and over and over again. I don’t like parties. I am not social. But I do love to know that I have touched the lives of those people who have touched my life.
And so as anyone who has worked with me in the past decade and anyone who is an integral part of my life could tell you, I don’t work on my birthday. I sleep in. I eat brunch. I watch shows. I take walks. I write poetry. I have treats. I reflect, reason, and indulge. I make this day about me. About what I want. And I do so without hesitation.
Not everyone has the luxury of that freedom. To simply declare they won’t work on their birthday and make it so. That privilege has come with age, hard work, and good fortune. But that privilege has given me time to reflect. And as I reflect, I gain knowledge, understanding, and temperance. And all of that has made my birthday much less about me in some ways.
Though March 8 has been International Women’s Day since long before I was born, it wasn’t widely enough promoted or celebrated to take up much of my attention until the last couple of years. It didn’t take up much space in the world or in my mind. So I’m a little ashamed to admit that my initial reaction to it picking up speed a few years ago was something along the lines of
I already have to share my birthday with the other people born on March 8! Now I have to share it with every woman in the world too?
My feelings were less than ideal. Immature. Certainly selfish. Shortsighted.
But with age we can grow. Older. Wiser. Tempered. And so the last two years there’s been a shift. I find myself joyfully embracing the good fortune of having been born on a day that celebrates women. This year in particular I find myself thinking of the women I know. The women I work with. The women I admire and look up to. The women I call friends. The woman I’m raising. The woman who raised me.
Today feels like it’s more about them than just me. More about moving forward. More about all of us taking up more room in this wide world. Occupying the space we’re entitled to, not the space we’re allotted. Not just fitting in where we can and catching a breath of air if others allow it.
So to all of you women — and I do mean all of you women of every variety under the moon and sun — I wish you a wonderful day and a better life from this day forward.
Be who you need to be. Be who you want to be. Be who you are. Take up space in your life, in your home, on the streets, and in the world.